ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Blacks, Unions, & Organizing in the South, 1956-1996
A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY
Compiled by Rudolph Lewis
SCLC & Hospital Workers
Hospital Workers RALLY ‘Up South’
by Joshua Watson
August 16, 1969
Enthusiasm wasn’t dampened, despite the absence of SCLC (Southern Christian leadership Conference) president, Ralph David Abernathy, at a rally for Baltimore hospital workers at the Emerson Hotel this week.
300 cheering hospital workers welcomed the rev. Bernard Lee, an executive of SCLC, and heard him say that “the chairman of SCLC called a meeting of the board in Charleston, S.C., and that is why the Reverend couldn’t be here tonight.
“He sent me in his place.”
The elated workers heard Mr. Lee declare that “Baltimore is one of the most broken down cities in America. As black folk we helped build this country. We are going to stand up like proud people and not beg.
“We live down south, you live up south . . . as we carry on in Charleston, you must carry on in Baltimore . . .
we won a wonderful victory in Charleston . . . after 100 days we were able to win union recognition and bargaining power with the hospitals there. . . . This is what we call ‘soul’ power. . . .
“I may be black but I am somebody. . . . repeat after me, union power, union power. We are going to sock it to Baltimore. . . . We are going to tear down the walls of injustice in Baltimore.”
Other speakers who supported the hospital union said: “Hospital workers have been the most notoriously exploited of blacks in the city. . . .unionize or stay dehumanized. . .if you don’t vote you are a dope. . . In union there is strength and, by golly, we need strength.” –Parren Mitchell.
“It is a sad story that a lot of people haven’t caught the spirit of unionization.
“Brother Nixon’s proposal for curing welfare and poverty doesn’t even began to start. How do you expect a man in this rising economy to live on $1,600 a year? How in the world can a man raise a family in dignity when he doesn’t have it himself?
“I want to know if you have any soul this evening. Get with it or get out.
“Aunt Janes, Nervous Nellies, and Uncle Toms: the whites have them continuing to divide the blacks. We have got to stand together and speak with one tongue.
“If you need us in Baltimore, we will come and turn it upside down and right side up again. We are not only black and beautiful but we have some sense.”
Via modern telephone hook-up to Charleston, the workers heard the voice of Mr. Abernathy say “physically I am in Charleston, spiritually my mind is miles away in Baltimore. . . . in the big cities of the north.”
Mrs. Willa Turman, Johns Hopkins Hospital employee: “Whenever a promotion was available, management passed us by. . . . Hospital workers will no longer settle for second-class citizenship. . . . We know now better than ever that only the strong survive.”
Mrs. Mary Bell, Lutheran Hospital employee: “Boss said you will be fired if you take part in union activity. . . . They may kill the dreamer, but they will not kill the dream.”
Miss Flora MacNair, North Charles General Hospital employee: “We are the victims of these circumstances. . . we have the skills and qualifications to succeed.”
Troy Brailey, Maryland House of Delegates: “People working in hospital forty years don’t get any money when they retire. . . . what seniority rights do you have? None.”
Miss Doris Turner, national vice-pres. of Local 1199: “In July, ’66, w, the hospital workers in New York, signed a contract with a minimum wage of $100 a week for hospital workers. . . . several years ago we were paid $32 a week.
“If you love the boss vote NO; if you love yourselves vote YES. . . . we are going to stop singing we shall overcome and sing: we have overcome.”
Organization of non-professional workers at Johns Hopkins, Lutheran, and North Charles General Hospital have been going on for several months by Local 1199E.
Local 1199E’s program include minimum wages of $100 a week, job classification program, job training and upgrading, pension plan, grievance procedure, full seniority rights, and other benefits.
Voting will take place by secret ballot Aug. 22 at Lutheran, Aug. 28 and 29 at Hopkins, and Sept 5 at North Charles General Hospital.
Fred Punch, Area Director of Local 1199E: “We have come a long way in Baltimore. . . . an injury to one is an injury to all. . . . if we can crack Johns Hopkins, this Goliath, this monster of all the hospitals in Baltimore, the other hospitals will fall. . . if any of the big shots in the hospital were compelled to live on our salaries, they would choke on their lies.”
Elliot Godoff, National Director, Organizing Committeeof Hospital and Nursing Home Employees: “Before the union came they didn’t know you had arrived. . . . I don’t believe there is going to be a strike in Baltimore because they are afraid of you. . . . There are more talents, more brains that go to waste because of discrimination in the hospitals.”
John Lorden, Acting Regional Dir. of AFL-CIO: “You can’t get into a hospital under $45 a day. . . . I wonder how management can keep paying slave-labor wages to employees of the hospital.”
posted 24 July 2008
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. Lisa Adkins, University of London
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By David Graeber
Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systemsto relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? Theres not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goodsthat is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors. Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like guilt, sin, and redemption) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong.
We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known historyas well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy. Economist Glenn Loury /Criminalizing a Race
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 27 May 2012